Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

It has been more than a month since we last visited the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Virginia. It has been a rather hot and humid summer so we haven’t been out much. Luckily, today was quite comfortable with clear blue skies, reasonable temperatures, and minimal humidity! In the park, there were still many flowers to see and birds as well, though we didn’t see as many as on previous visits. But overall, it was still a great place to be!

Flowers are always interesting to see, they come in so many varieties and have so many details! This particular species caught our attention. We photographed it in two different places.

Another flower. This one was very white. No idea what it is!

Some of these stalks were growing flowers. They were very long with just a few flowers near the end.

This flower was rather deep. The gap between petals is visible at its base but otherwise the petals overlap completely.

The lotuses and water lilies were all well past their prime. We did see a few lotus flowers though, including this humongous example. But most were long gone. We also didn’t see or hear any Red-Winged Blackbirds today, a species that was present during our last few visits.

As for birds we did see, and hear, we both saw and heard American Goldfinches like this one. It was high up in a tree and the first one we managed to actually see today.

Some birds were a bit elusive, like this Gray Catbird that was backlit on a branch.

We saw a few butterflies today, including these two that were enjoying some flowering plant stalks. Some variety of swallowtail due to the swallow-like portion of their rear wings?

Speaking of swallows, we saw them as usual! They were quickly darting around the sky hunting for bugs as they always do. We saw a few of them resting on some of the trees next to one of the paved paths. These all appear to be Barn Swallows. We saw these from a gazebo at the end of a small boardwalk that extends into one of the larger lakes so it was a little bit far away.

We got a closer look at some of the swallows as we approached on the paved path below them. The one at the top looks more like a Tree Swallow than the two Barn Swallows below it.

We were able to get even closer and get a better look at some of the Barn Swallows!

And the one swallow that definitely appears to be a Tree Swallow. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any Purple Martins like we did on our last visit. The bird houses and nests that we saw are almost certainly all vacant now as they’re only used before the little ones learn to fly. Sometimes various species will have multiple sets of young in a year but we didn’t see any late nesters while walking around.

The last bird that we saw today, the same species as the first, an American Goldfinch! We saw it fly to a tree and cling to its trunk for awhile before moving on.

Other than the birds and the butterflies, we also saw some turtles. There were a few enjoying the sun while out of the water and some more swimming around near the surface like this one.


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